Hockey Nook DIY

I am a hockey mom.  It’s not all I am, of course, but with three boys in competitive hockey it sometimes really does feel like hockey fills every nook and cranny of our lives.  I took that feeling to its literal extreme this week with this hockey DIY project, and in less than 15 minutes, I filled a tiny corner of Middlest’s room with a hockey vignette.

My project began with a trip to Blacks.  We were invited to visit the store on Yonge at Eglinton to experience their Playground for Photography, and I was inspired the minute I walked through the doors.  We were introduced to a myriad of ideas for taking photos to the next level, from pillow cases, to phone covers to bound books, but I was most captivated by the gallery wall.  Humble instagram photos really came to life grouped together and mounted on interesting surfaces.  (I will be writing about my own gallery of photos from my daily walks for our Photography Month in June!)

Blacks kindly offered us a sample of a mounted photo, and I chose one of Middlest right after he had scored a goal.  Here is the original, taken with my iPhone in less than ideal conditions through plexiglass and with him in motion.  I mention this because you really do not need to begin with a perfect photo for this to work.

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I mistakenly shot the photo with a filter on my phone camera, but it was a fortuitous mistake.  I then cropped the picture and added shading to the corners and deep focus to blur the edges with Phototoaster.

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This is the image I gave to Blacks, and I chose to mount it on a metal plate that really complimented the tone and texture of the image.  Metal wall art begins at $34.99 for an image that measures 8 x 8, which is the size that I had.

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I love the mounted image, and I was so excited to find a place to hang it.  The photo is small, but I wanted to give it pride of place, so I knew that it would have to be part of a vignette, and the wall by Middlest’s bed was the perfect spot for it.

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Books are as big a part of our lives as hockey, and they really fill every nook and cranny of this house, so it made sense to include books in the vignette, too.  I put up an invisible book shelf from Umbra to ground the vignette with a stack of hockey books.

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Then I set one of the many, many hockey trophies this boy has already collected on top of the books.  And voila!  A quick and simple project to honour the ways we fill our days (and nights, and weekends, and holidays, and….)

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Gift Guide for Teachers, Coaches, Instructors, Mentors and More!

Need help finding gifts for the adults in your kids’ lives?  Here are some fabulous ideas for your kids’ teachers, coaches and mentors.

From Nathalie:

I love to find the right gift for the right person, and for several years now, I have shopped for my kids’ teachers and coaches on behalf of the class, school or team.  At my kids’ elementary school, a class parent collects money from all of the families for a group gift, and a portion of what they collect gets pooled for gifts for the music, gym, French, and ESL teachers, as well as for the office staff, custodial staff, librarian and principal.  I am the person who shops for all of those gifts, and I look forward to it every year.  When Eldest moved to Middle School with different teachers for each subject, I was first in line to do the shopping for them too.

If you have a large budget to work with, it is often easy to give the gift of an experience.  I have given gift certificates to a teacher’s favourite restaurant, a membership to the zoo or to the Royal Ontario Museum for teachers with young children, and tickets to the aquarium and sports events.  Carol’s recent experience of a class where she learned to make chocolate truffles would be a great gift, or even one of the workshops offered at Carol’s store, Little House in the City!

Even with a modest budget of $20-$30, you can find so many apt and personal gifts.  Surfing fun gift sites is a huge part of the pleasure I take in finding gifts.  My top tip for finding the perfect gift for a teacher, mentor or coach is to go to a site like Etsy, One of a Kind Online, Redbubble, or Café Press and type in a key word for the person’s field of interest or hobby.  The hive mind is so very versatile; ask, and the interwebs will provide.

For the Math Teacher:

A square root t-shirt from Redbubble ($30).  (Check out what happened when I entered “square root” as a search term!  Or math.  So much great stuff!)

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For the French Teacher:

This notebook made from a re-purposed text book ($23), made by Margi Laurin, Maker of Stuff is so perfect. I met Margi at the One of A Kind show, but you can find her online.

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For the Coach:

I saw these amazing kits ($24) at the Etsy Made in Canada event.  They are made by Michelle at Aide Bodycare, and you can buy them on line through Etsy.  I think this is a great idea for any guy in your kid’s life.  It is a bit on the personal side, but sometimes we spend so much time with the coaches that they begin to feel like family!

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For the Hockey Coach:

I can’t tell you how excited I was to find these beauties at the One of a Kind Show: photographic image transfer art by Patrick Lajoie, who works out of Caledon, Ontario.  (You can also find him on Etsy.)  I first saw his work in the summer, when I bought one of his pond hockey photographs.  I have loved living with his art hanging in our home (on the landing outside of the boys’ bedrooms) was thrilled to find more iterations of hockey in the great outdoors.  At only $20 each, these are affordable, beautiful and unique gifts for any hockey lover.

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For any teacher with young kids:

I have bought many of these amazing Story Blocks by Fidoodle, and this year I bought a set for our kids’ gym teacher, who has a young son.  I love how versatile it is: building blocks, scenery for setting the stage for a story, action figures, and characters from both Red Riding Hood and Peter and the Wolf.  In order to create a gift basket with the theme of family reading, I’ve paired it with a book about reading to kids called A Family of Readers by Roger Sutton, about reading to kids from infancy through to the tweens, and with a gift certificate for a book store so that he can choose a book for himself.  I bought the story blocks at Carol’s new store, Little House in the City!

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From Beth-Anne:

For the Art Teacher – The Art Gallery of Ontario is currently exhibiting the works of Alex Colville.  The installation is an amazing collection of his finished works, sketches, interviews, and photos.  Consider giving an experience – a ticket for your teacher to enjoy over the holiday.  Don’t live in Toronto?  No problem, you can shop the AGO and purchase Colville inspired gifts like this binocular necklace.  AGO Colville Necklace $32

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For the Music Teacher – Encourage your teachers to rest-up this holiday with this whimsical pillow from coverLove for $43.00

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For the Math Teacher – Math, science and technology teachers usually have a witty sense of humor.  It’s always fun searching for the perfect kitschy gift that will get a laugh or two.  If jokey gifts aren’t your thing, maybe this geometric doormat is.  Available from the Drake General Store, $38.

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For the Science Teacher –  Janette, whom I met years ago through my moms’ group, is a scientist.  She has that witty sense of humor and enlightens me by posting interesting science-y articles on Facebook.  She gave me some ideas for what the science teacher may like including naming a star after them!  Her other picks: www.thinkgeek.com and http://www.ilovesciencestore.com where this DNA necklace ($29) and Atom keychain ($15) are from.   If Janette’s husband is reading, I have it on good authority that the meteorite necklace would be well received on Christmas morning.  Just sayin’.

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For the Classroom Teacher – The possibilities are really endless but I like these words of wisdom prints from Indigo.  This one says There Is Nothing Like A Dream ($29) and I think that’s pretty fitting for a classroom where dreams are nurtured by great teachers.

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From Carol

For the eco-conscious and slightly practically-minded teacher, Abeego natural food wrap is a great choice.  Handmade in Canada (Victoria, BC), this effective alternative to plastic cling is made from organic cotton and hemp, and covered with a blend of beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin.  Re-usable and durable, it will last over a year with proper care.  Best gift option is the set of 3 wraps (small, medium, large) for $18. Available at Little House in the City.

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Also lovely are the hand-printed, organic cotton tea towels created by Bookhou.  Affordable luxury and functional beauty at $16, and sure to brighten any kitchen.  Available at Little House in the City.

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